X Factor and Rage Against the Machine

December 15, 2009

I watched X Factor. I did. I watched two or three episodes. If am honest, I watched it to see if Cheryls hair would become sentient, and start a revolution live on ITV.

The kids involved, were pretty much indistinguishable from each other. Pretty, barely pubescent, clean shaven youths, interpreting modern ‘classics’, by using so much of their vocal range on each phrase-they rendered the tunes they were warbling as barely identifiable. Songs that tried to convey ‘real emotion’, but were served up as warm platitude lasagne(line stolen, blatantly plagiarised, and can’t remember who from!)

I quite liked the pantomime of the judges arguing, and the clear difference between the budgets of the stylists for the contestants(New Look, Top Shop) and the judges(including that bizarre dress with the food processor wheels as breast plates from David Korma). If am honest, the cynical twitterthon which ran alongside each episode, made it hysterical viewing.

I get people are upset by Cowells assumption that he owns the christmas No.1 spot. The man doesn’t give a shit about music, but has cornered the market in creating event television out of this mediocre dross, and I get why people are furious that he assumes that the kids he exploits, are entitled to the number on spot.

But I won’t be buying Rage Against the Machines record. Mainly because I can’t stand Rage Against the Machine, but also because I can’t see why I would want to deprive this kid of his number one spot.

The kid that won, did not win a million quid. He won a recording deal that cost a million quid, and this money is not the ticket to a life of celebrity and luxury.

We all know he isn’t talented enough to become the big star, with the bright future, that he has been promised live on television. The million quid he has been ‘given’ is a loan, most of which has already been spent on the expensive 30 second spots, the tour, the distribution, the manufacture, and the production of this record. With a hefty cut for Monsieur Cowell and his cynical cronies. He will get a salary for a few weeks, and use of a luxury flat, and by mid 2010, you will struggle to recall his name, as he wanders into his local job centre. His record company will  make money, as will his ‘agent’, his ‘manager’, his stylists, the distributors, the TV programmes he appears on, even the people who supply the clothes his advance pays for.

All the costs incurred by this record will be borne by this kid, and not by Cowell or the television franchise that has grossed tens of millions of pounds this series.

If there is anything left over once everyone has taken his cut, he may get something. If his record grosses over £1million. Unlikely though.

I say fuck it.  I won’t be buying Rage Against the Machine, in an effort to prevent this kid getting to No.1.

If his record gets to number 1, he gets a brief moment in the sun. If he doesn’t, Cowell doesn’t lose. He has made enough money from the phone in lines, competitions, and advertising, that the sales of the record are a cherry on a very lucrative cake. He doesn’t care if this kid gets to No.1 or not. I hope I have him all wrong, and he doesn’t have to be reminded of his name this time next year, when he shows up on X Factor.

So yeah, fuck it. Let the kid have his moment. The cynical marketing machine that created him, exploited him and his family, and gave him expectations that can’t be fulfilled=causes me rage, but I won’t be buying someone else record, so I can Rage Against the Machine.



  1. I hate Simon Cowell (or Agent Orange as Bill Bailey called him last week), and the whole talentless, cynical gravy train that is the X Factor. I have special bile reserved for Cheryl Tweedy, the convicted thug.

    I feel sorry for the kid. No one will remember his name in 6 months time. I won’t buy the RATM single as I already own it, and I’m dirt poor at the moment, but the RATM cause is linked to something good and positive:


    Donate a little if you can so something comes of the anti-Cowell sentiment


  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by slummymummy1: Blog Post- X factor and Rage Against the Machine. http://wp.me/pyBFp-og

  3. For me it’s all about real music. Individuality. Creativity. I’ve always hated processed music. Don’t even fancy it occasionally, like I do processed cheese. For the same reason, I hate Christmas songs. Most of them are processed crap and the ones that aren’t I’ve heard enough times for one life. I wouldn’t mind Noddy Holder’s Christmas bonus, but if there were a button that deleted all the world’s copies of that song, I’d consider pressing it. Yeah – the cheeky Geordie paper boy probably deserves his hour, but it seems to have become an automatic expectation that the X-Factor winner reaches number 1 that week. Come back Gary Jules: all is forgiven. I watched “Donnie Darko” with my Media class today. Now that’s what I call festive entertainment.

    • Indeed there was. I despise it, I watch it, and I can’t believe that people are confusing that soulless expressionless dross, with music. Its not music, its people with average commercial marketable voices, singing standard moneymakers, by kids who have no more understanding of what they are singing about, than my cat. I am angry at the Cowell mobile, and won’t be booing if the kid doesn’t get- I just think that the active prevention hurts him, more than it hurts Cowell. And I feel like he has been clusterfucked, and will be left, like the rest of the couple of dozen kids we cant remember the names of now, wandering with nothing. For me, personally, and I appreciate its just me- I don’t want to actively hinder his minute of fame- which when all is said and done, is all he will take away from this.

  4. Top, top blog post. Love it.

  5. I think RATM donating some of their profits to charity, as if attaching a moral value to buying “Killing in the Name” rather than “The Climb” is the most insidious and socially manipulative part of this campaign.

    Oh yeah. I went there.

    I kid, great post. Here’s my take on the issue:


    But you’re right about Joe. He’s the really sympathetic figure at the centre of all this. Even if he is useless.

  6. TOUCHÉ!!!

  7. So glad to see that someone, somewhere in the world, agrees with me on this! I found the whole thing insidious and nauseating, as if buying one RATM record which was hardly ground breaking 17 years ago, let alone now, would change the face of music. I am, truly, no Joe fan, I thought he was dull, plastic and sounded a little like a drag queen not in drag, but he’s only a little lad, and had been put through the money making mill and deserved his 15 minutes. I don’t think Simon Cowell should have a monopoly on Christmas number one but would have been much happier had it have been a “true” battle for number one. Having said all that the final figures were 450,000 + 550,000 – hardly indicative of a nation’s wishes anyway! Wow rant over, LOL what a huge comment! Just glad for the release *and breeeeeeeathe*

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